The Bourne Legacy (2012)



Critic Consensus: It isn't quite as compelling as the earlier trilogy, but The Bourne Legacy proves the franchise has stories left to tell -- and benefits from Jeremy Renner's magnetic work in the starring role.

Movie Info

The narrative architect behind the Bourne film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: The Bourne Legacy. The writer/director expands the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. For The Bourne Legacy, Renner joins fellow … More

Rating: PG-13 (for violence and action sequences)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Dan Gilroy, Tony Gilroy
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 11, 2012
Box Office: $113.2M
Universal Pictures - Official Site


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News & Interviews for The Bourne Legacy

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Critic Reviews for The Bourne Legacy

All Critics (215) | Top Critics (43)

A fine movie, in the end. And that's the problem. It's just fine. The first three "Bourne" movies were incredible.

Full Review… | November 14, 2013
Cinema Crazed

The rather serious and businesslike film offers a handful of intense action scenes and some satisfying spy-vs-spy combat.

Full Review… | July 17, 2013

It doesn't so much as end as run out of running time.

Full Review… | June 23, 2013

No one wanted this. Not even lapsed Christians sought to be "Bourne" again.

Full Review… | May 26, 2013
The Patriot Ledger

Legacy intact! The Bourne Legacy ensures we've not seen the end of the franchise just yet.

Full Review… | March 4, 2013
Concrete Playground

Renner's Cross isn't as compelling a protagonist as Damon's troubled Bourne, but when it comes to bruising combat he certainly delivers.

Full Review… | January 10, 2013
Movie Talk

Audience Reviews for The Bourne Legacy

An interesting addition to the series which runs concurrent with the last film time wise. The plot is starting to get stretched a bit thin now though, I liked the original films gritty realistic feel. Overall I think it was a bit hyped up and the ending was a bit sudden, not what I was hoping for but still a good action film.

Dean King

Super Reviewer

The Bourne Legacy looks and feels like another entry in the well liked series, but is missing the interesting characters and revelations that made the trilogy a massive hit in the last decade. Jeremy Renner is a fine actor and does well in the role of Aaron Cross, but the character itself is not as interesting as Jason Bourne and Matt Damon's magnetic portrayal which pushed it over the top. It was all about uncovering past mysteries before and it was genuinely compelling and well-crafted storytelling, but this entry is perfectly content to recycle material and deliver a mediocre story that doesn't have the push of past entries. Honestly, not much happens in this film in terms of the overall plot arc and the future is up in the air on whether or not we will ever get a sequel, which makes the non-ending of this film even more anti-climactic. The supporting characters also are not as compelling as the series past. Edward Norton plays a bland "villain" in this, despite also being an excellent actor, and Rachel Weisz is mostly wasted in the damsel in distress role. David Strathairn is certainly missed. The one criticism levied towards the original trilogy was the camerawork, which was mostly shaky-cam to add intensity, but some people complained they couldn't tell what was going on. I disagreed with this and thought it added a level of visceral satisfaction to the films. Legacy pretty much does away with them. It's a much more straightforward approach, adding to the blandness. There are some good things, mostly some excellent scenery and cinematography towards the beginning and some good action sequences. It is still Bourne, after all. The film itself is decently paced and can be entertaining, but it's a second rate version of the original films.

Josh Lewis

Super Reviewer

Bourne series scripter Tony Gilroy steps into the director's chair for this sidequel that takes the ideas from the previous films, and runs with it, giving us a deeper look into the world created in the other films, but through the eyes of some new (and a few old) characters.

While not physically present, Jason Bourne, and what he was a part of, play a big role here, making the film's title of 'legacy' really appropriate. Set around (and during) some of the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, this is the story of a new agent whose fate has been sealed by the events of the first three films. His name is Aaron Cross, and, because of what Bourne did, he now founds himself on the run with a fellow person also deeply involved in all of the shadowy government business.

The film has all the globe-trotting thrills you'd expect from this sort of thing, but it doesn't have the same impact as the other films, and this one is easily the weakest/least interesting. That doesn't mean that it is a bad film, but it just isn't as captivating.

The ideas behind it are interesting, and I liked how the film shows the fallout and consequences of the events from previous films, but these new characters in general just aren't as compelling. Renner is solid as the leading man here, but I can't say the same for Weisz, who is rather underwhelming most of the time. I think Norton did decent too, though this seems more like a sleepwalk for him than anything else.

As far as the cinematography goes, Robert Elswit delivers the goods, and we get some gorgeous stuff here. The editing, especially in the action moments is also far less choppy than before, but the action scenes themselves aren't as thrilling as the earlier ones. I did like the end chase, but it went on a tad too long. The hands down best part of the film though, has to be the utterly gripping and suspenseful laboratory shooting scene. That was some intense and chilling stuff. And that's probably Gilroy's best strength here- the ability to really deliver tension and suspense. The rest feels kinda routine, though still decent.

Aside from not being as compelling, the essentially non-existent ending is really frustrating, even though I would like to see more of the Cross character, oddly enough. The film is also too long, and definitely feels that way. The script is also probably a tad too convoluted for its own good.

In the end, as flawed as this might be (and it sure is), I did enjoy this, even if it fails to be as strong as its predecessors. This is one of my rare times where I'll give it the slightest recommendation possible, so give it a watch.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

The Bourne Legacy Quotes

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